May. 4, 2020

** Migrant workers bear brunt of COVID-19, observes webinar from Christian Conference of Asia

Bangladesh, 2019. Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC

04 May 2020

Among the most vulnerable amid COVID-19 in Asia and the Arabian Gulf are migrant workers – especially those who are semi-skilled, those employed in domestic work, and those in labour camps. Internal migrant workers and overseas workers across Asia are among the many who are bearing the worst brunt of the pandemic’s consequences, agreed speakers in a virtual conference facilitated by the Christian Conference of Asia.

The webinar, entitled “Plight of Migrant Workers amidst the COVID-19 Crisis,” was part of a series of virtual conferences focusing on pertinent issues and challenges related to COVID-19.

The first of the series, held on 30 April, drew about 100 participants.

Presentations and discussions were led by eight panellists from diverse backgrounds in Asia. They addressed the pressing concerns of migrant workers including the internal labour migrant workers within a country, casual and unskilled workers who have migrated overseas, those offering their services on a temporary or seasonal basis, or those working as domestic workers or industrial workers in different Asian and Arabian Gulf countries.

The global socio-economic crisis that has followed in the wake of the spread of the pandemic has thrust the future of migrant workers into grave unpredictability as they have lost employment and means of livelihood practically overnight. Their condition is exacerbated by their exclusion from normative government assistance, their invisibility in the workforce, and deepening social inequality.

The next webinar in the series, “Churches in Asia Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis,” will be 7 May.

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